On the Panama Hat Trail

Trip Start Sep 30, 2006
Trip End Dec 24, 2008

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Flag of Ecuador  ,
Sunday, December 3, 2006

Cuenca, Ecuador's 3rd largest city, very beautiful, definitely European in style, cobbled streets, boutiques and all that jazz. In the morning we walked over to the museum of shrunken heads, declined a free trial from the curator! Discovered that Ecuador is a small country, very divided, geographically speaking, into three distinct areas. The pacific coast region to the west. The central highlands, the Andes. And the amazon jungle basin over the east. Its one of the Amazon tribes who punished anyone caught murdering by shrinking their head to the size of a cabbage patch kid. Nice. The museum also had a good bird sanctuary which was fun
and near by we walked past a local Ecuadorian crufts show.

Our last night in Ecuador finished, quite appropriately, just like our first morning in Ecuador;

The morning our plane touched down in Quito we checked into a hostal and walked to a book store looking for the LP on Ecuador. The book we actually purchased that morning was The Panama Hat Trail by Tom Miller. 25 years ago Tom Miller spent time visiting all the Ecuadorians involved in growing, weaving and selling Panama hats. The book is now a classic piece of Ecuadorian literature offering the reader an opportunity to learn about Ecuadorian people and their day to day lives.   

On our last night in Ecuador we were sitting at the bar in Cafe Eucalyptus, enjoying a happy 4 hours, 50p a drink, owned by an English man, waiting for our Jamaican jerk chicken and Italian salad to arrive, listening to the live salsa band, when we started talking to a 50 year old American hat maker. Grant, starts telling us he is featuring in a documentary, re-tracing Tom Millers steps 25 years later, explaining what has changed since the book was published. Grant brought us food and drinks and spoke about how the art of weaving hats is dying, at one moment his eyes welled up and he nearly started crying. It was a great end to our time in Ecuador and so the next morning we took a bus to the border to say hello to Peru.

Cooper Out of Ecuador

Love Dan & Kat
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